An Iowan who led the computer revolution is profiled in a new book titled “The Man Behind the Microchip.” Author Leslie Berlin says she chose to write about Bob Noyce after learning he’s hailed as both “the Thomas Edison and the Henry Ford of Silicon Valley.”
She says the Edison reference is for his invention of the first practical integrated circuit, the device we call the microchip today. And the Henry Ford comparison’s because he started two important companies — the first successful “silicon company in Silicon Valley,” called Fairchild Semiconductor, and the other, “a little company called Intel.”
On top of all that, Noyce was a mentor to dozens of entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs, creator of Apple Computers and Pixar Animation, who’s quoted as saying “Bob Noyce took me under his wing.” Noyce lived in several Iowa towns including Decorah and Atlantic before his family settled in Grinnell where he attended college.
Berlin says it’s a classic America story, starting in the Midwest with traditional America roots — his father and both grandfathers were ministers — and coming up by hard work and “an exceptional brain and a little bit of luck” to become one of the most recognizable names in business and technology at the end of the 20th century.
Berlin will speak tonight and sign books at Grinnell College, where she says the computer pioneer got an “exceptionally fine education” that allowed Noyce to go on to M-I-T and accomplish the things he did. Her appearance tonight will begin at 7:30 in the Herrick Chapel on the campus of Grinnell College. The book itself has a website, “the man behind the microchip-dot-com.”